As we move toward homes which feature products harvested through sustainable methods, flooring choices are shifting away from carpets and hardwoods to products like bamboo. One of the more significant concerns with this change in the approach to interior design is that many of the environmentally-friendly products tend to be softer and scratch with ease.
That is why there is a growing preference for eucalyptus flooring. This option comes from the eucalyptus tree, which is grown all over the world, but is famous for its growth patterns in Australia. There are over 700 different varieties of this species, which means there are several different options from which to choose.
The eucalyptus grows to maturity in as little as five years, which is why it can make such an outstanding product for sustainable flooring. We can grow enough to meet your interior needs, leave enough for the koalas to eat, and focus on the species which can reach a height of nearly 300 feet.
If you are thinking about adding eucalyptus flooring to your home as a remodeling project or your initial design, then here are the critical pros and cons to review.
List of the Pros of Eucalyptus Flooring
1. It resists moisture with exceptional ease.
One of the issues that homeowners in high humidity environments face is that wood floors can swell and shrink quite a lot throughout the season. Even when the flooring receives a proper seal, any coastal location can experience enough change to the structure of each plank and section that it outgrows the room built in for expansion. That can leave you with yearly maintenance chores that can quickly eat away at your budget.
The choice of eucalyptus flooring is superior because the tree grows well in the tropical regions of our planet. It stands up to high moisture levels in the air better, reducing the amount of expansion and contraction that occurs with your floor. There are still specific precautions to follow with your installation technique, but you will notice this advantage right away if you’ve used other materials in the past.
2. This flooring option is exceptionally affordable.
If you want to save money at the same time you are improving the look and structure of your interior, then eucalyptus flooring is the perfect option to consider. You will pay about 50% of the retail cost with this option compared to the traditional hardwood floors which are available today. The product is very easy to install as well, so you aren’t forced into a position where a contractor is needed to get the work done.
Most eucalyptus flooring last longer than hardwoods as well, which means you save some money over the life of the product too. The reason why these cost savings are possible is because these trees grow faster than other varieties used for flooring, which places less strain on the overall supply.
3. You will not encounter issues with VOCs when shopping for eucalyptus flooring materials.
The threats of indoor air pollution are on the rise in homes across the United States, Europe, and around the world. You must use products in your home that will not increase the levels of VOC exposure or create the potential for radon. That’s another reason why homeowners are turning to eucalyptus flooring as one of their primary choices.
Most eucalyptus flooring meets the strict standard for emissions, but there are some products still floating out there on the market that may not. You can verify the status of your preferred item by looking for FloorScore® certification while shopping for the style you want for your home.
4. It offers a better durability rating than other flooring options.
Another advantage of using eucalyptus flooring is that it can withstand the abuses of everyday life in the home. It works well when supporting areas of heavy foot traffic, can withstand the use of alternative footwear, and stay looking great even when your pets are scampering across it each day. That doesn’t mean it is invulnerable to everything, but woven eucalyptus is a harder wood option than something like red oak.
Even eucalyptus flooring which does not feature the woven technique is more robust than most hardwood options you can find on the market today. Some homeowners can see their installation last for 20+ years before full replacement becomes necessary. Some products even come with a 25-year warranty to back up your investment.
5. Eucalyptus flooring offers an attractive interior option.
Whether you decide to use a natural look with planks or choose an alternative option that works with your current décor options, eucalyptus flooring provides one of the most visually attractive flooring options that is available today. The improved look and feel of each room with this product can add immediate value to your home if you are trying to sell or flip a property. That means you can create a modern vibe, a traditional look, or something in between that fits your personal style.
6. You can personalize this flooring option without a significant investment.
When you choose eucalyptus flooring for your home, then you can select from a wide variety of different colors, textures, and glosses to suit almost any style and taste. Most manufacturers offer several choices that you can install directly from the box upon purchase. The planks can install with different patterns as well so that there is a pattern to the wood grain that you can use as well when planning out the installation process in your home.
7. There are multiple installation options from which to choose.
If you decide that eucalyptus flooring is the best option for your home, then there are three different methods of installation that are possible with this product. You can choose to float it, glue it down, or nail it down to create the final result that you want. Most homeowners can finish a room in just a day, even if they don’t consider themselves to be a DIY expert. That means you have even more time and money at the end of the day to make additional improvements to your home as you wish. Just make sure to follow all of the instructions to the letter to avoid accidentally avoiding your warranty.
8. Eucalyptus flooring offers a low maintenance lifestyle option.
What would you rather be doing with your weekend? Watching a movie with the family, catching the big game, or cleaning your floors? When you opt for eucalyptus flooring, then you are installing a low-maintenance option which requires very little work. Most homeowners need to either sweep or vacuum them about once per week. A damp mop can help to pull up any marks right away. If you have pets, another cleaning might be necessary if you have heavy shedding problems.
9. There are numerous eco-friendly advantages to consider.
When you want to choose a floor for your home that doesn’t damage the environment, then eucalyptus flooring must be one of your top choices. Most commercial growing operations occur in South America or Asia, so you don’t need to worry about taking trees away from the koalas and other marsupials in Australia. We grow it in sustainable ways so that farms don’t impact the local environment. You can even request a custom order that receives certification from the Forest Stewardship Council.
There are fewer water resources used with eucalyptus flooring, less problems with air pollution, and staggered growing seasons mean that these trees can be grown all year long without causing problems with soil erosion or habitat destruction.
10. It does not go through a double shipping process.
Did you know that most American hardwood products get shipped to China for the milling and finishing work before coming back to retail stores? When you choose eucalyptus flooring, then the product originates in China already. The manufacturing companies process the wood there, and then ship it overseas to reach the export markets. That means you’re cutting down 50% of the transportation expenses and the greenhouse gases associated with product movement when you choose this option for your home.
List of the Cons of Eucalyptus Flooring
1. It isn’t the cheapest flooring option that is on the market today.
If your budget is the primary concern you have when shopping for a new floor, then eucalyptus flooring might not be the first choice on your list. Although it is 50% cheaper than many hardwood options that are available right now, bamboo is still slightly cheaper since it is technically grass, grows faster, and provides more availability. You can save about 20% off of the final cost of your floor by choosing bamboo over eucalyptus without creating a significant environmental problem with your preference.
2. Eucalyptus flooring is not available in every community.
If you check with your community’s floor specialists, you may find that eucalyptus flooring is not always available for installation. You may need to shop with a retail chain who can secure this product for you, but even then, it may not always be possible to secure this product without making a special order. That is why it is not unusual for homeowners to shop for this option online since there is a shipping need that must be met in most situations. If you must pay for the delivery, then this disadvantage will cut into the cost savings you can experience when this choice is compared to hardwoods.
3. You can experience water damage with this flooring very easily.
Although eucalyptus flooring can withstand humidity quite well in your home, it doesn’t do well when it exposed to direct water contact. Even if you install a sealed product, the natural wear-and-tear that occurs when you walk across it can lead to protection gaps that expose this disadvantage over time. You will need to take extra care of this product if you install it in your kitchen. It should also not be in most bathrooms because of this issue.
4. Some eucalyptus options are softer than hardwood floors.
You must pay attention to the type of eucalyptus flooring that you purchase to ensure that you receive the hardness level you want for your home. When you look at the Janka scale for the ratings of this tree, there is a wide range to consider. The Brazilian Eucalyptus offers a hardness rating of only 1125, which makes it closer to most oak floors instead of maple or ash. If you work with the karri species of this tree, then the hardness rating rises to above 2,000, making it 25% harder than maple and comparable to mahogany for its strength. If you do not receive any information about the type of wood used for the flooring, then look for a woven product for the highest level of strength.
5. You can still experience floor damage with high humidity levels.
Cupping can still occur with eucalyptus flooring when there are relatively high humidity levels experienced in the home. This damage occurs because the wood expands due to the high moisture levels.
Then compression occurs on the boards, causing them to deform around the edges thanks to an imbalance of moisture throughout the blank. The eucalyptus flooring is wetter at the bottom than at the surface, eventually creating an uneven surface. Crowning can occur as well when there is moisture left on the surface of the wood, creating the problem in reverse.
6. There is still a need to refinish the floor over time.
When you choose eucalyptus flooring, then you will have a durable surface to enjoy in your home. That surface will experience some scuffs and scratches over time that can change its overall appearance. When this issue occurs, the blemishes can become a costly problem to repair. That is why refinishing work is sometimes done if the color of the planks tends to show that damage that happens. If you hire a professional contractor to do this work, then you can expect to pay up to $4 per square foot (and sometimes more) depending on the layout, finish, and other factors involved.
7. Eucalyptus flooring can be louder than other options for your home.
If you like to have a quiet home, then eucalyptus flooring might not be the best choice to consider. Like most hardwood floors, it can be surprisingly noise when you walk across it. That can become a nuisance for some families when there are multiple schedules being managed throughout the day. You can reduce the impact of this disadvantage by laying area rugs across a room, but then you’re adding another cost to your project.
The hard, flat surface does not absorb sounds as well as other flooring options either, especially if there is not a pad in place on your subfloor. That means you can sometimes experience an echoing effect in the home where sounds from the TV or a conversation can become challenging to distinguish over the other background noises.
8. It may increase the risk of an injury occurring during an accident in your home.
There is not much support to offer with eucalyptus flooring should someone slip or fall, which means the hard surface could make an injury more likely to happen in that type of circumstance. Area rugs can help with this disadvantage a little as well, but it will not offer the same levels of protection that a carpeted floor with padding could provide.
You will also need to deal with the issues of crowning or cupping immediately since an unlevel surface can result in a higher risk of injury as well. Carpeting presents its own set of challenges with tearing and tripping, but not usually to the same degree.
9. You need to use specialized cleaning products on eucalyptus floors.
If you decide that eucalyptus flooring is the best option for your home, then make sure that you choose a specific cleaning agent that will work with the product. Using a steam mop or a damp cloth could become problematic if the planks or panels are not correctly sealed to lock out moisture. Frequent cleanings with incorrect chemicals or liquids could result in crowning or cupping that eventually requires a replacement of the affected pieces to maintain a safe floor.
These eucalyptus flooring pros and cons can help you to decide if this option is the best solution for your home. It is an affordable product compared to hardwoods, but not always as cheap as bamboo in some markets. There might also be limited availability to consider with this item. When installed correctly, it could provide you with over 25 years of service while providing a low-maintenance benefits throughout its lifetime. Consider each key point carefully in this guide, and then make the decision which makes the most sense for your home.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.